Can a robot have a personality?

This is a fantastic question which has been asked for many years. 


Take Hal, from 2001: Space Odyssey, the smooth talking, velvety toned artificial intelligence application that controlled the ship Discovery One. Look at Marvin, the Paranoid Android from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a reject from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation’s GPP (Genuine People’s Personalities Programme). Holly from Red Dwarf, a sarcastic, disembodied human head who ran the famous space ship.


I do love Marvin.. A brain the size of a planet.

To quote wiki, ‘the true horror of Marvin’s existence is that no task he could ever be given would occupy even the tiniest fraction of his vast intellect’.


He claims to be 50,000 times more intelligent than a human, or 30 billion times more intelligent than a live mattress. Whilst Hal seemed to be more evolved emotionally than Marvin, perhaps one learned from the others mistakes, you can see that to truly configure a robots personality, you need to have a personality yourself.


When creating an artificial personality, one would typically model them after themselves or someone they know.


How would you configure a personality for a robot in your freight business? Would you adopt the traits of an operator/account manager? Possibly, but it would have to be a good one. Give it the traits of a paranoid android? Probably not. Are these two personality types the same? Who knows. It really depends on your current levels of customer service.


What we know is that we like to talk to our clients in different ways because our personality types are different. Perhaps we like to be extremely factual, maybe we like to share a sense of humour, sometimes even take the proverbial out of ourselves, or each other.


I have a face for radio, as such I quite enjoy the chat and call paradigm over the video call any day of the week. As such, I do put thought into my comms and calls in advance.


I have trained several apprentices in the past, all of whom are now very successful in their own right. I tried to let them learn from their mistakes but always ensured I was there to support and drive them.


Being a technologist, of course, I have worked with Macros and other process driving tools. I have also had exposure to AI/ML tech which automates simple internal processes. Hard to be creative with those but I will always settle for those that ‘just work’.


I wondered if I could teach a robot how to act and behave the way that I would with my customer, via a chat or voice conversation. I couldn’t find any commercial technology to adopt, at the right price, to prove a concept.


We worked on several iterations of this product before we agreed on the current technology stack in place. Part of the process was to be able to easily configure a personality, quite possibly like my own (!??), within the application.

  • Does it know how I feel? No. But it will ask anyway.
  • Can it tell me the value at stock at sea? Possibly yes, if you configure the question to the data set.
  • Will it listen to my feedback? Well, the Levitate app is very grateful for feedback and can pass this on in real time for someone to act upon it, not wait for a bi/annual client feedback survey.
  • Can this derive a net promoter score for your business? Definitely yes, with a smile on its little robot face too.
  • Will it be 50,000 times more intelligent than a human? Never. But it will definitely be at least 30 billion times more intelligent than a mattress

You get out what you put in.


Simply put, this is technology applied well. There is nothing any better than any other commercial/generic artificial intelligence applications, we have just made it work, out of the box, for the freight, supply chain and logistics sectors.

I would ask again, what personality would you configure into a robot to help your business win, retain and serve customers, whilst also reducing the cost of doing business?


What would you call her, him, it? If it’s Metal Mickey, you truly are a ‘fruitbat’!



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